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SOL DUC HOT SPRINGS



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Current Soleduck Lodge

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From Historic Resource Study 1983 Olympic National Park
By Gail E. H. Evans and T. Allan Comp
Cultural Resources Division
National Park Service

Natural Hot Springs in the upper drainage of the Soleduck and Elwha Rivers prompted resort development in the interior Olympic Mountains in the early 1900s. Although developed to appeal to a vastly different clientele, the professed therapeutic waters at both Sol Due Hot Springs and Olympic Hot Springs drew large numbers of people to these unique natural attractions in the interior of the Olympic Mountains.

According to most accounts, Theodor Moritz, a settler on the Quillayute River on the western peninsula, was the first to discover and claim possession of the land at the hot springs on the upper Soleduck River. Arriving before the turn of the century, Moritz first erected a small log cabin on the hot springs site and completed a primitive trail up the Soleduck Valley to his claim. Word of the medicinal qualities of the hot sulfur water spread, and people with rheumatism, skin diseases, and other afflictions made the long trek to Moritz's Hot Springs to repose in wooden tubs fashioned from dugout logs. Gradually, tents were erected over wooden floors, a dining room structure was built and a shed with individual rooms housing crude tubs was constructed. Michael Earles, a prosperous local lumber mill owner, was among a group of visitors to the Hot Springs in 1903. When he became seriously ill, Earles was reportedly cured by the therapeutic waters and became intent on owning the hot springs (Lauridsen and Smith 1937, 16264; Dalton Collection 1911, 11).

Michael Earles eventually took an option to buy the property, and in 1907 he organized the Sol Due Hot Springs Company. Earles' grandiose plans for developing the Hot Springs were revealed in the newly formed company's articles of incorporation. The stated objects for which the company was created included the following:

To build and operate hotels, sanatoriums and bathing establishments, at the hot springs in Clallam County..... To build and maintain electric and steam railroads and steamboats; to build, establish and maintain wagon and toll roads, and to charge tolls for the use of same; to operate and maintain stage lines and automobiles, for hire; [and] to build, operate and maintain sawmills, and to conduct logging operations (NOL 1966).

The capital stock of the corporation was $50,000. In 1909 Theodor Moritz died, and Michael Earles bought the Hot Springs property from t he Moritz heirs. Development of Sol Due Hot Springs, which was undertaken by the Sol Due Hot Springs Company, began immediately (Hassel 1971, 416; NOL 1966).

In 1909 the Sol Due Hot Springs Company secured a National Forest Service permit for a right-of-way between Fairholin on Lake Crescent and Sol Due Hot Springs (NFS ONF 1911, 25 September). One year later the company completed a fourteen-mile-long road to the resort at a cost of $75,000. Over this road the necessary equipment and supplies were transported to bui1d the health resort (Horse 1971, 67, 70). In 1910, 200 persons commenced felling and milling timber to construct a complex of buildings on the Hot Springs site. More than two million feet of lumber were milled and three quarters of a million shingles were cut on site under the direction of Chris Kuppler and Sons, contractors. For nearly two years work continued. A new bathhouse, sanatorium, gymnasium, building to house workers, ballroom, cabins, powerhouse, ice plant, and steam laundry replaced the old bathhouses built by Moritz. (Hassel 1971, 417; Lauridsen and Smith 1937, 164-65; Dalton Collection 1911, 14).

Most notable of all the structures was the expansive hotel building. In a thirty-two page booklet produced by the Chicago, Milwaukee & Puget Sound Railway Company to promote the Sol Duc Hot Springs, the trhree-and-one-half-story hotel building was described as an "imposing structure, massive and unique, for the first story is built of upright hewn fir logs, giving a rustic effect rarely seen." A twenty-foot-wide veranda encircled three sides of the hotel. Measuring 160 x 80 feet, the hotel contained 165 bedrooms, each with hot and cold running water, private telephone, and many with private baths. "The main lobby, capacious and ornate, with massive columns running through the center greets the eye of the guest, for it is 40 feet in width by 80 feet in length, while near the front entrance is a great fireplace, lending an air of comfort and cheeriness which no other agency can give." Adjoining the lobby was the dining room, "spacious, light and sumptuous in its furnishings. Here the veriest epicure may be able to gratify his every whim" (Chicago, Milwaukee & Puget Sound Company ca. 1912, 11-19).

A 280-foot covered walk connected the hotel to the bathhouse where guests indulged in the curative spring waters and a resident physician gave professional instructions. The two-and-one-half story sanatorium, which accommodated 100 patients, was equipped with a modern operating room, laboratory, and X-ray apparatus. Winding paths through landscaped lawns and gardens surrounded the hotel. In addition, facilities at the hotel included golf links, tennis courts, bowling alleys, and billiard rooms. Michael Earles reportedly spent half a million dollars in creating this mecca deep in the heart of the Olympic Mountains. The well-publicized formal opening of the Hot Springs was 15 May 1912 (Chicago, Milwaukee & Puget Sound Railway Company ca. 1912, 11-19; Lauridsen and Smith 1937, 165). Sol Duc Hot Springs soon became one of the best-known health resorts on the Pacific Coast. The resort catered to those of wealth and opulent tastes and attracted guests from as far away as Europe. In its peak year, 10,000 guests visited the hot springs. The Hot Springs Company provided transportation from Seattle for its guests. Passengers boarded a steamship in Seattle for the seventy-five-mile voyage to Port Crescent on the Strait of Juan de Fuca where they were met by automobiles and driven to Lake Crescent. By barge, and later ferry boat, the cars and passengers were transported across the lake to Fairholm; and finally, from the west end of Lake Crescent, passengers traveled by automobile over the fourteen-mile road to the resort (Chicago, Milwaukee & Puget Sound Railway ca. 1912, 21-25; Miller 1973,17). Sol Duc Hot Springs mineral water was available in bottles and apparently prescribed by physicians for those with any number of physical ailments.

Michael Earles' grand creation ended abruptly and harshly when fire ravaged the buildings just four years after the formal opening of the resort. Sparks from a defective flue started an intense blaze that leveled the main hotel, sanatorium, bathhouse, powerhouse, laundry room, ice plant, engine room, seven cottages, and tent frames. The health house and the dance hall were all that remained standing. The Sol Due Hot Springs Resort was never rebuilt on a scale to match its former glory (Hassel 1977, 419). Michael Earles died in 1919, and in 1935 the Sol Due Hot Springs Company was dissolved for nonpayment of the annual license fee (NOL 1966, 24 October).

The character of the Hot Springs altered markedly in the 1920s when Sol Duc Hot Springs was reestablished as an auto camp for the middle-income vacationing public. The Hot Springs reopened in 1921 (USFS ONF 1923, 23 June). In 1925 Fred Martin purchased the Earles' estate (Hassel 1971, 419). In the late 1920s, during Martin's ownership, several of the existing cabins were erected (NOL ca. 1978, 5). The health house, one of Earles' original buildings, was renamed the Buena Vista and accommodated guests until Its fiery demise In the late 1920s (Hassel 1971, 479). Apparently Martin built a second main lodge building around the same period but in 1934 it, too, succumbed to fire and in the same year many of the cabins burned. Martin died in 1935 before efforts to rebuild the resort were accomplished (NPS OLYM 1962, n.d.).

Articles of incorporation for Sol Due Hot Springs, Incorporated were filed in 1944 under the names of George C, Rains, Fern 0. Rains and Osco R. Rains, (NOL 1966, 24 October). Seven years later W. C. Able gained possession of the property. In 1966 the National Park Service purchased Sol Due Hot Springs. Under Park Service management, several of the cabins dating from the 1920s and 1930s were replaced with upgraded, slightly larger structures, and the 1920-1930 straight-line configuration was altered. In 1983 several small mineral pools, a large swimming pool, and new bathhouses were constructed, replacing similar older facilities. A multitude of natural disasters, alterations, and re-constructions at Sol Due Hot Springs have rendered the resort unidentifiable today as the prototype of any single historical resort period.



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OLYMPIC HOT SPRINGS



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Olympic Hot Springs - A
In 1927, the Olympic Hot Springs Resort consisted of a large pool, main lodge building, several cabins, and assorted buildings. (Courtesy of Olympic National Forest)
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By 1937, a new lodge was completed at Olympic Hot Springs and the resort was accessible by a narrow, winding dirt road. (Courtesy of Olympic National Forest)


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OLYMPIC HOT SPRINGS - 1960

Hot Springs in 1960


From Historic Resource Study 1983 Olympic National Park
By Gail E. H. Evans and T. Allan Comp
Cultural Resources Division
National Park Service

Olympic Hot Springs (now known as Boulder Creek Hot Springs) is another natural occurrence of hot sulfur water that instigated resort development in the interior Olympic Mountains soon after the turn of the century. Andrew Jacobsen was the first to report the discovery of the hot springs on Boulder Creek (a tributary of the Elwha River) in the early 1890s. In 1906 Jacobsen returned to the hot springs, retrieved a bottle of its water to prove his discovery to others, and shortly afterward he apparently made a business arrangement with four others to develop the area. Nothing came of this agreement (Lauridsen and Smith 1937, 160-61).

In 1907 or 1908 William (Billy) Everett rediscovered the mineral water seepage on a narrow bench 200 feet above Boulder Creek while on a hunting trip with two companions, Charles Anderson and Thomas Farrell. Together the three began cutting a crude uphill trail from the Elwha River to the 2,100-foot-1eve1 site. (Anderson soon deserted the project and Everett's wife, Margaret, acquired Farrell's portion of the claim.) The Everett's then constructed wood tubs, dug out sections of the forested hillside for mud baths, and built a cabin and bathhouse (Miller 1973, 13). In 1909 the Hot Springs was opened to the public.

A 1911 promotional brochure expounding on the virtues of the north Olympic Peninsula area noted that there were several hot springs at Boulder Creek, varying in temperature from 113 to 132 degrees, as well as cold ones. All were located on a narrow bench about 200 feet above Boulder Creek with the mountains rising abruptly on either side. The publication declared that "already has this resort become known outside the country, until this past season a number of tourists and pleasure seekers, as well as others seeking aid from the curative properties of the mineral waters for various ailments, have visited the springs from various cities of the Sound and down the Coast" (Dalton Collection 1911, 14).

The city of Port Angeles, twenty-one miles to the north, was also interested in the therapeutic qualities of the Hot Springs water. In 1910 the city made application to the U.S. Forest Service {at that Time administering the area) to pipe the water to the city limits for use in public drinking fountains and natatoriurns, and to furnish water to sanatoriurns, hotels, and bottling works. A permit for use of the Hot Springs water was issued, but it is doubtful that the city ever developed the full commercial potential of the water (USFS ONF 1910, 26 October).

Over the next decade, building improvements were made at Olympic Hot Springs. The Everett's at first erected tents to house visitors. Dewitt C. Sisson, local Elwha Valley resident, packed machinery and supplies to the hot springs by horseback from 1908 to 1913. Later Burt Herrick operated a pack train to take supplies to the Hot Springs. The Everett's constructed a dam and water wheel on Boulder Creek to generate electricity, and built a sawmill in 1909 (Schoeffel 1971, 413).

In a letter dated 8 July 1917, local Elwha River resident Grant Humes noted that the Everett's made extensive improvements to the resort (Dalton Collection 1916-1933). Workmen constructed a lodge with a dining room, kitchen, and storerooms as well as a 75 x 25-foot wooden pool and a substantial bathhouse. The first resort cabins were erected in 1919 to replace the tent frames which were torn down (Schoeffel 1971, 413-14; USFS ONF 1918, 29 June).

The popularity of Olympic Hot Springs resort heightened In the late 1910s but began to fall off in the early 1920s as Sol Due Hot Springs reopened In 1921 after its fiery destruction five years earlier. In 1920 the resort at Boulder Creek received 1,100 guests; in 1921, 850; and In 1922 only 600 visitors. While Sol Due Hot Springs could be reached by auto tourists and by stage, the Olympic resort was accessible only by foot or horseback over a rugged eleven-mile trail (USES ONF 1923, 23 June). To ease the problem of inaccessibility, Olympic Hot Springs management leased the camp at Altaire (on the upper Elwha River) and ran daily pack trips to the resort. Finally, in 1930, a road to the hot springs was completed by the cooperative effort of work crews from the U.S. Forest Service and Clallam County. During summer months in the 1930s, regular round-trip taxi service from Port Angeles to Olympic Hot Springs delivered guests to the resort for only s3.75 (Schoeffel 1971, 414, 415).

Harry Schoeffel arrived at Olympic Hot Springs after World War I and in 1921 he and the Everett's' daughter, Jeanette, were married. Harry and Jeanette Schoeffel assumed management of the resort in 1924 and continued for over forty years. Under the Schoeffel s' management, Olympic Hot Springs continued to develop over the next several years. Development plans executed by the Port Angeles architect, James B. Jackson, in the late 1910s were carried out during the 1920s. By 1923 a bathhouse (with six tubs), men's and women's dressing rooms, and a store building stood on the resort site. Cottages and tents provided space for ninety guests and an eighty-foot-high truss bridge spanned Boulder Creek (USFS ONF 1923, 23 June). New construction at Olympic Hot Springs continued in the late 1920s and early 1930s. In the summer of 1927 the Schoeffels completed a new log hotel on a small bench on the north side of Boulder Creek. The building had a lobby, dining room, and twelve-second floor bedrooms (USFS ONF 1926, 25 June; 1926, 28 December). In 1930 the Schoeffels constructed a new pool, and in 1932 ten more sleeping rooms were added to the main hotel building (Schoeffel 1971, 414). Following the Depression, which slowed construction during the early 1930s, the Schoeffels in 1936 added several new cabins, remodeled many older ones, and made improvements both to the swimming pool and to the road leading to the resort, (USFS ONF 1937, 6 March).

Nineteen hundred and forty ushered in a time of change at Olympic Hot Springs. In late January of that year the main hotel building was destroyed by fire. The same year the Boulder Creek/Elwha River area was one of several additions made to Olympic National Park. Under Park Service administration, the Schoeffels leased the resort and immediately reconstructed the lodge. During the 1950s, Park Service managers insisted on the chlorinating of water at the hot springs, which caused a substantial decline in business. Finally, in 1966, Olympic Hot Springs was closed to the public. The weight of heavy snow during winter months in the late 1960s and early 1970s collapsed the roofs of several of the buildings (Schoeffel 1971, 415). In late 1972 all structures of the Olympic Hot Springs were surveyed for removal by the National Park Service (NPS OLYM 1972, 24 November). During the, following months, eighteen buildings plus the main lodge and the swimming pool were destroyed. Today, there are only remnant evidences of the complex of resort buildings at Olympic Hot Springs.



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PRESS EXPEDITION



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Members of the Press expedition were photographed at the end of their trans Olympic Mountain trek, in Aberdeen, Washington on 21 May 1890. From left to right are Sims, Barnes, Crumback (kneeling), Christie and Hayes. (Courtesy of Mrs. Pierre Barnes and Mrs. Mary Buell)




From Historic Resource Study 1983 Olympic National Park
By Gail E. H. Evans and T. Allan Comp
Cultural Resources Division
National Park Service

In 1889, when Elisha P. Ferry became the first governor of the State of Washington, he, like Semple, was enamored by the mysteries of the awesome, unexplored lands of the peninsula. In response to Semple's and Ferry's expressed interest in the interior of the peninsula, the Seattle Press newspaper published a story in the fall of 1889 challenging any "hardy citizens of the Sound to acquire fame by unveiling the mystery which wraps the land encircled by the snow capped Olympic range" (Seattle Press 1890a, K July). Numerous inquiries were made about the Press article. James H. Christie expressed, in a letter stating his qualifications for such an exploration, his desire to lead an exploring party and a request for financial support. The Press agreed to be the sponsor of an exploring group. By December 1889, a six-man team was organized, known as the "Press Exploring Expedition," with James Christie as leader (Seattle Press 1890a, 16 July).

Members of the expedition included the following men: James Helbold (sometimes incorrectly spelled Helibol) Christie, the Press leader, was born in Scotland in 1854, served in a branch of the Canadian military forces, and later took part in a three year expedition to the Arctic; Captain Charles Adams Barnes, the party's topographer, was a native of Illinois born in 1859, and served In the military in the United States before engaging in business in California; Dr. Harris Boyle Runnalls, M.D. (sometimes spelled Runnals), the party's naturalist, was born in England in 1854, and practiced medicine in several English hospitals before coming to America in 1888; John Henry Crumback, the expedition cook, was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1856 and was occupied at various times as a prospector, cowboy, and hunter in the Northwest Territories before arriving in Seattle; John William Sims, born in England in 1861, served in the British army for six years and was later engaged In "hunting, trapping, prospecting and trading"; and Christopher O'Connell Hayes, born in T867, who was occupied as a cowboy in the Yakima Valley in eastern Washington (Seattle Press 1890a, 16 July; Wood 1967, 19-22). The entourage was rounded out with four dogs and two mules. According to the Seattle Press, this group of hardy young (half were thirty or under) individuals was reputed to "have [an] abundance of grit and manly vim," and, unquestionably, "the people of the country had every reason to rest assured that these men would bring them a complete record of the unknown country within the Olympics" (Seattle Press 1890a, 16 July).

The expedition party was organized hastily in the late fall of 1889. Provisions provided by the Press amounted to 1500 pounds and included "Winchester rifles, plenty of ammunition, a tent, canvas sheets, blankets, fishing tackle, axes, a whip saw for cutting out logs, a few carpenter tools, the necessary tools for mineral prospecting, rope, snowshoes [and] a small but well selected assortment of cooking and other utensils." Laden with supplies, the Press exploring expedition left Seattle by steamer headed for Port Angeles on 8 December 1869 (Seattle Press 1890a, 16 July).

As winter approached, the party of six gradually eased away from Port Angeles, heading southwest toward the lower Elwha River where settlers in the area assisted in their preparations. Incessant rain, snow, and cold weather, combined with persistent but unsuccessful attempts to construct and navigate a boat (Gertie} against the current up the Elwha River, delayed Christie anJ his men from making serious headway until mid-February. (Dr. Runnalls left the party on 3 February.) After arriving in the vicinity of Griff Creek (tributary of the Elwha River) on 17 February 1890, the party slowly proceeded up the Elwha River, reaching Lillian Creek by 1 April. By 1 May, the group was encamped in the upper drainage of the Goldie River below Mount Wilder. Descending down into the upper Elwha Valley once again, then making the steep ascent to Low Divide, the Press party started south down the North Fork Quinault River, reaching the confluence of the North Fork Quinault River and Rustler Creek in mid-May. By 19 May, Christie and his men, with the assistance of a local hunting party, arrived at Lake Quinault (at the southern Park boundary). One day later they floated by canoe to the mouth of the Quinault River on the Pacific Ocean. (A thorough, complete account of the Press exploring expedition is given in Robert Wood's Across the Olympic Mountains' The Press Expedition, 1869-1890.)

In slightly less than six months, the Press expedition traversed the entire Olympic range from north to south, most of which is now in Olympic National Park. It was the first documented expedition to accomplish such a feat (Wood 1976, 201, 204-205). Numerous rivers, canyons, valleys, and mountain peaks and ranges were reconnoitered and named. No less than eighteen place names are currently in use, the most widely known including Mount Christie, Mount Barnes, Mount Ferry, Mount Seattle, Mount Meany (after Edmond S. Meany, writer for the Seattle Press), Mount Dana (after Charles Dana, editor of the New York Sun), Mount Noyes (after Crosby Noyes, writer for the Washington, D. C., Evening Star), Mount Scott (after James W. Scott of the Chicago Herald), and the Bailey Range (after William E. Bailey, publisher of the Seattle Press) (Wood 1976, 215-20). A hachure map, an early form of contour map, produced by expedition member Charles A. Barnes, became the first published cartographic representation of Lake Crescent. As never before, this map delineated major peaks and valleys in the eastern portion of the Olympic Peninsula interior. In addition, Charles Barnes took some of the first photographs of high mountain winter scenes in the Northwest in the Olympic Mountains. Those photos are now among the collections of the U.S. National Archives (Majors and McCollum 1981, 162). The approximate route of the Press expedition "trail" across the mountains (except where the party followed the Goldie River) was later incorporated into the Olympic National Park trail system.



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